Sustainable ComputingPlan and Optimize Your Infrastructure to be Energy Efficient with System Center

Frank Koch, Mike Stephens, and Michael Walsh


System Center Capacity Planner 2007
System Center Configuration Manager 2007

To truly achieve energy efficiency across the enterprise, you must think beyond power management settings and take into consideration the entire profile of your organization's architecture.

Fortunately, Microsoft System Center provides powerful tools to analyze and optimize architectures for energy efficiency. Two particularly useful features are the Capacity Planner and Configuration Manager.

System Center Capacity Planner 2007

Microsoft System Center Capacity Planner 2007 allows you to profile your existing server architecture, including Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, and Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007. This enables you to generate an architectural model based upon:

  • Topology (site locations, types of networks, network components, and network characteristics such as bandwidth and latency)
  • Hardware (server distribution and characteristics, server and network mapping, and so on)
  • Software (server role and service mapping, file and storage device mapping, and the like)
  • Usage profiles (site usage and client usage)

The model provides two primary benefits to administrators. First, you can use the model to plan the correct amount of infrastructure needed for a new application to meet service-level goals. This can help you eliminate over-provisioning. Second, you can survey your hardware and software to account for inefficiencies in hardware, software, and components. Based on the goals and objectives of your organization, you can then procure replacements for devices that do not comply with requirements.

System Center Configuration Manager 2007

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 also provides detailed asset information beyond just the server infrastructure. As with Capacity Planner 2007, the information provided by Configuration Manager 2007 can help you determine, for example, which machines and components should be replaced first based on energy efficiency.

Configuration Manager can provide even greater insight. For example, say you are deploying graphic cards across an enterprise that has a lot of CAD systems. There might be a large variety of graphics cards, so we'll categorize them as high-end and low-end for the purpose of this example and further assume that high-end cards consume much more energy than the low-end cards. If you want to optimize for energy efficiency in this environment, you'll need to ensure that only CAD users are in possession of the high-end graphics card machines and only non-CAD users are in possession of low-end graphics card machines.

Configuration Manager provides an overview of who has what component in combination with which software. Using this information, you can quickly profile the organization's machines and determine who is using the high-end graphics cards for Blizzard's World of Warcraft or Microsoft Flight Simulator and who is using the cards for CAD purposes. Knowledge is the key here, and Configuration Manager provides the detailed asset information you'll need to optimize your architecture for energy efficiency.

Frank Koch works for Microsoft.

Mike Stephens works for Microsoft.

Michael Walsh is the Senior Environmental Product Manager at Microsoft.